Tesla chooses to build first European factory in Berlin

Berlin has been chosen as the location for Tesla’s first European production plant. The carmaker’s ‘gigafactory’ will be built close to the Berlin Brandenburg airport, which is currently under construction, according to an announcement by Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk in the German capital on Tuesday 12 November. He was in Berlin to accept the ‘Golden Steering Wheel Award’ on his company’s behalf. Various other locations had been in the running, including in the Netherlands and the Rhineland.

US car giant Tesla has had the ambition to build a huge facility in Europe for years. It already has two production plants in the USA and is currently building a third plant in China.

Surprising choice

Elon Musk had made no secret of the fact that he was looking for a suitable site. Several countries were possible contenders, but the car firm took its time making the final decision. Representatives from the Netherlands and elsewhere lobbied hard to influence Tesla’s decision.

Brandenburg is a surprising choice, not least because Musk previously expressed his preference for a site close to the French-German border. The new gigafactory will produce large volumes of electric vehicles, batteries and powertrains.

Increased pressure on German carmakers

When discussing the choice for Berlin, Musk praised the quality of the German automotive industry. The news has been welcomed in Germany, even though Tesla’s arrival will increase the pressure on the country’s car manufacturers in addition to creating jobs.